Veljo Tormis: Works for Men’s Voices

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Catalogue No: TOCC0073
EAN/UPC: 5060113440730
Release Date: 2007-08-20
Composer: Veljo Tormis
Artists: Sofia Söderberg Eberhard, Svanholm Singers

The Estonian composer Veljo Tormis (born in 1930) has carved a unique position for himself in contemporary music. By marrying the quasi-minimalist rhythmic vigour of Estonian runic singing – a tradition some 3,000 years old – with the extended techniques of modern choral writing, he has created a body of music tingling with excitement, energy and power. Many of the works on this CD – where the composer, playing shaman drum and anvil, joins one of Scandinavia’s brightest young choirs – draw on folk sources in a reaffirmation of Estonian identity; others evoke the forces of nature as a metaphor for political upheaval.

Svanholm Singers, choir
Sofia Söderberg Eberhard, conductor

Listen To This Recording:

  1. An Aboriginal Song (1981)
  2. Double Dedication (1983)

  3. I. I’d Like to Sing a Song
  4. II. Stars
  5. Crosswind (1993)
  6. Our Shadows (Once We Will Reappear) (1969)
  7. Forging the Sampo (1997) [Version for men’s voices]
  8. The Bishop and the Pagan (1992)
  9. Incantation for a Stormy Sea (1996)
  10. From Men’s Songs (1964t65)

  11. No. 1, ‘Men’s Song’
  12. No. 2, ‘Bundling Song’
  13. No. 3, ‘Betrothal Visit Song’
  14. No. 5, ‘Song of the Turkish War’
  15. No. 7, ‘Serf’s Song’
  16. No. 8, ‘Dancing Song’
  17. Curse upon Iron (1972) [Version for men’s voices]

11 reviews for Veljo Tormis: Works for Men’s Voices

  1. :

    ‘a fine retrospective of this major composer’s choral output, all beautifully performed. I can only recommend this disc very highly.’

    —Patric Standford, Music & Vision

  2. :

    ‘Svanholm Singers, directed by Sofia Söderberg Eberhard, performs this music as if it had it in its blood. The group shows remarkable assurance in singing not only with obvious discipline, but with the wildness the music requires. The sound is full, present, and immediate. Fans of modern choral music who aren’t familiar with Tormis’ music owe it to themselves to explore it, and this collection makes a terrific place to start.’

    —Stephen Eddins, AllMusic

  3. :

    ‘Concluding the disc is the premiere recording of Tormis’ male-voice version of Curse upon Iron, one of his finest works—as brilliant anti-war statement drawn from the Kalevala, in which iron is condemned as the evil embodiment of weapons. First-rate sound and Tormis’ personal notes on the music ensure the highest recommendation for this compelling, essential release.’

    —David Vernier, ClassicsToday

  4. :

    ‘This is a superbly recorded and performed selection which is well worth tracking down. Tormis is receiving some attention but is desperately neglected on the world stage in relation to his worth as a composer. Merits the effort of discovery especially if you favour choral work or are a choral conductor and are looking to clamber out of the rut.’

    —Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

  5. :

    ‘The performances on this album are well blended, intonationally razor sharp, and rhythmically precise. In virtuosic content such as this they truly get to show their mettle, which is of a fine quality. With excellent sound and good timings…recommended. Would it be too presumptuous to request some orchestral music by Tormis, as well?’

    —Barry Brenesal, Fanfare Magazine

  6. :

    ‘The Svanholm Singers, founded in 1998, comprises only 20 voices but is a formidable choir with a massive sound. Under their obviously inspirational conductor, Sofia Söderberg Eberhard, they are more than technically and musically able to cope with the strenuous demands made upon them by Tormis’ often uncompromising music, while also managing to convey a grainy rustic quality to the sound. … The acoustics of the Lomma kyrka in Skåne suits the singers and the music perfectly, lending just the right degree of resonance to the music, allowing the words perfect clarity yet adding an appropriate bloom to the overall sound.’

    —Derek Warby, MusicWeb International

  7. :

    音の輪郭がはっきりとわかる。” —合唱道楽 歌い人:

  8. :

    ‘Sällan hör man så prickfritt framförande – utmärkt artikulation, rytmisk precision, makalös palett av klangfärg och dynamik samt knivskarpt intonerande … Tormis anförtrodde Svanholm Singers världspremiären av manskörsversionen av hans kanske mest kända verk Raua Needmine (Curse upon Iron, Järnets förbannelse). Här ger kören prov på balansgång mellan dov mysticism och maximal, dramatisk uttryckskraft med atonala ackord ackompanjerade av tonsättarens skickligt hanterade, men stundtals våldsamma schamantrumma, som ger lyssnaren en härlig närvarokänsla.’

    —Jerker Sjöqvist

  9. :

    ‘So, which to single out? The phenomenal precision of intonation, tonal focus and communicative urgency in the singing, the high-mindedness and vividness of the poetry, or the music’s sheer range of appeal and refusal to recognise boundaries between different kinds of audience? There are rich pickings here, the programme covering a gamut of expression from folk-comic-macho through saga-epic to wondrous-romantic. Tormis himself gives the disc a symbolic imprimatur by playing the shaman drum in An Aboriginal Song and Curse upon Iron. Whistling, sighing, tongue-clicking, falsetto and log drumming add to the tonal palette but the music and singing are seductive enough even without them. Documentation is exemplary, recording quality perfectly judged. Irresistible!’

    Gramophone Magazine

  10. :

    ‘We were struck by the depth of passionate feeling running through both the music and the performances…’

    Art & Culture, 9 July 2009

  11. :

    ‘Beautifully performed. I can only recommend this disc very highly.’

    —Patric Standford, CD Spotlight

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